The 10 Best Bond Villains

James Bond is often only as good as his villains, which is why the Internet went nuts when rumors began circulating late last week that 007’s next adversary might be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave star would be not only the rare black actor to face off against Bond (at least, as his prime antagonist), but also one of the few actors to take on such a role at the apparent height of his career. While hoping that Ejiofor embraces the challenge of taking on MI6’s most famous secret agent, we present our choices for the all-time best Bond villains. 

On Game of Thrones, patriarch and cold-hearted tactical mastermind Tywin Lannister personally oversees the work of one of the best blacksmiths in the kingdom. The task at hand: melting down the broadsword Ice, property of the now-dispatched Eddard Stark, to forge two new blades for the Lannisters. Besides the obvious metaphorical value of melting down your foe’s weapon to make it your own, there’s another driver behind Lord Tywin’s action: Ice is one of the few remaining swords in the Game of Thrones universe known to be made of Valyrian steel, a mystical material that makes the best weapons around. But the secret of making this alloy has been lost to the ages. Only a handful of smiths in Westeros know how to reshape the material. This brings up an important question: In the real world, can you just melt and reforge a steel alloy without losing the properties that make it great? 


Can You Simply Reforge a Metal Like Valyrian Steel?

On Game of Thrones, patriarch and cold-hearted tactical mastermind Tywin Lannister personally oversees the work of one of the best blacksmiths in the kingdom. The task at hand: melting down the broadsword Ice, property of the now-dispatched Eddard Stark, to forge two new blades for the Lannisters. Besides the obvious metaphorical value of melting down your foe’s weapon to make it your own, there’s another driver behind Lord Tywin’s action: Ice is one of the few remaining swords in the Game of Thrones universe known to be made of Valyrian steel, a mystical material that makes the best weapons around. But the secret of making this alloy has been lost to the ages. Only a handful of smiths in Westeros know how to reshape the material. 

This brings up an important question: In the real world, can you just melt and reforge a steel alloy without losing the properties that make it great? 

Can You Simply Reforge a Metal Like Valyrian Steel?

The star of Captain America: The WinterSoldier is neither Captain America nor the Winter Solider. It’s the next-gen Helicarrier, a technological marvel and ultimate superweapon that can stay in orbit to target and kill about a million victims at once. But is it a terrorist’s worst nightmare, or American militarization out of control? That’s the big dilemma facing Chris Evans’s Cap and the vaunted S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in the newest Marvel film. To create this technological terror, the plan at Industrial Light & Magic was to do a slight upgrade on the Helicarrier from The Avengers. But because of the scope of the movie—the entire plot of Winter Soldier revolves around the Helicarrier, known as “Project Insight”—ILM did a complete rebuild, as well as expanding from one to three massive airships. The CG models of Project Insight became the largest in ILM history. 


Creating the Helicarrier of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The star of Captain America: The WinterSoldier is neither Captain America nor the Winter Solider. It’s the next-gen Helicarrier, a technological marvel and ultimate superweapon that can stay in orbit to target and kill about a million victims at once. But is it a terrorist’s worst nightmare, or American militarization out of control? That’s the big dilemma facing Chris Evans’s Cap and the vaunted S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in the newest Marvel film

To create this technological terror, the plan at Industrial Light & Magic was to do a slight upgrade on the Helicarrier from The Avengers. But because of the scope of the movie—the entire plot of Winter Soldier revolves around the Helicarrier, known as “Project Insight”—ILM did a complete rebuild, as well as expanding from one to three massive airships. The CG models of Project Insight became the largest in ILM history. 

Creating the Helicarrier of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Has Fusion Finally Solved Its Hype Problem?
Omar Hurricane studies nuclear fusion at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif. In February Hurricane’s lab took the biggest step toward fusion energy yet. He tells PopMech how today’s goals and breakthroughs have taken a sharp turn from the hype and pipe-dream promises of the past.

Has Fusion Finally Solved Its Hype Problem?

Omar Hurricane studies nuclear fusion at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif. In February Hurricane’s lab took the biggest step toward fusion energy yet. He tells PopMech how today’s goals and breakthroughs have taken a sharp turn from the hype and pipe-dream promises of the past.

"Bitcoin just got a lot more complicated. On March 25, the IRS announced it would consider bitcoin to be property, not currency. That means bitcoin owners will now be subject to capital gains taxes. It makes the frictionless and anonymous currency a lot less frictionless and a bit less anonymous. And, overall, the rule makes bitcoin much more of a hassle to use as currency. Here’s what else you need to know."

6 Big Questions About Bitcoin and the IRS

Now that the productive Kepler telescope is down for the count, astronomers are dreaming up new techniques and missions to help them find even more planets around alien stars.

8 New Ways to Search for Even More Planets

In drought-stricken areas, turning on the sprinkler in the morning can be a wasteful luxury. Just 1000 square feet of grass needs 620 gallons of water per week to remain green. On the other hand, runoff from overuse of sprinkler systems contributes to the 850 billion gallons of water waste that ends up in sewers each year. But fret not: You can keep your yard green without wasting water with high-tech sprinklers and some low-tech tips. Here is how to keep your garden lush without wasting a drop.

6 High-Tech Sprinklers to Keep Your Lawn Green

Plus: Low-Tech Ways to Conserve Water

From retrofitted rowboats to amphibious drones, we delve deep into the history of the sub.

A Brief History of the Submarine

As we hear more and more about government spying at the federal, state, and local levels, it’s time to start thinking about what to do if we want to protect our privacy. Instapundit blogger and PopMech contributor Glenn Harlan Reynolds outlines the new rules he’d like to see.


5 Privacy Laws I Would Put on the Books Right Now

As we hear more and more about government spying at the federal, state, and local levels, it’s time to start thinking about what to do if we want to protect our privacy. Instapundit blogger and PopMech contributor Glenn Harlan Reynolds outlines the new rules he’d like to see.

5 Privacy Laws I Would Put on the Books Right Now

A well-tended lawn is desirable and, formany American homeowners, essential. But recently it’s become a target of sustainability advocates, and for good reason. Not only are fertilizers and pesticides required to maintain that lush green carpet, a lawn also needs water—and lots of it. In fact, turf grass is the largest irrigated crop in the U.S. On a hot summer day a typical 3000-square-foot lawn can gulp as much as 360 gallons. That kind of water use can be costly. One Texas homeowner—whose water rates were nearly three times the national average of $2 per 1000 gallons—calculated that he spends up to $120 a month to irrigate his 22,000-square-foot lawn. Antilawn advocacy is affecting how we landscape, especially west of the Rockies, where record low precipitation has depleted reservoirs and triggered water-use restrictions. One trend in that part of the country: garden styles, such as xeriscaping, that replace water-hungry plants with drought-resistant ones. Meanwhile, sales of artificial turf have increased by 30 percent per year for the past five years. But your front yard doesn’t have to resemble the Sonoran Desert or a miniature golf course to reduce the work, water, and waste of your lawn. Here are some alternative—and reasonable—solutions. 


The Greener Way to Grow a Gorgeous Lawn

A well-tended lawn is desirable and, formany American homeowners, essential. But recently it’s become a target of sustainability advocates, and for good reason. Not only are fertilizers and pesticides required to maintain that lush green carpet, a lawn also needs water—and lots of it. In fact, turf grass is the largest irrigated crop in the U.S. On a hot summer day a typical 3000-square-foot lawn can gulp as much as 360 gallons. That kind of water use can be costly. One Texas homeowner—whose water rates were nearly three times the national average of $2 per 1000 gallons—calculated that he spends up to $120 a month to irrigate his 22,000-square-foot lawn. 

Antilawn advocacy is affecting how we landscape, especially west of the Rockies, where record low precipitation has depleted reservoirs and triggered water-use restrictions. One trend in that part of the country: garden styles, such as xeriscaping, that replace water-hungry plants with drought-resistant ones. Meanwhile, sales of artificial turf have increased by 30 percent per year for the past five years. But your front yard doesn’t have to resemble the Sonoran Desert or a miniature golf course to reduce the work, water, and waste of your lawn. Here are some alternative—and reasonable—solutions. 

The Greener Way to Grow a Gorgeous Lawn